Bringing a new life into the world is an extraordinary experience, but it’s no secret that labor can be quite challenging. Vomiting during labor is common and can make an already intense process even more uncomfortable.
Most women would like to avoid vomiting during labor and here we are going to give you tips for how to prevent vomiting during labor.
In this guide, we will delve deep into the topics of:
- Why is vomiting during labor occur?
- Which stages of labor is it common to experience vomiting?
- Are there ways to suppress vomiting during labor?
Table of Contents
Is it Normal to Vomit During Labor?
There are may factors that contribute to the likelihood of vomiting during labor. Keep in mind that during labor you are experiencing an intense physical and emotional stress is imposed on your body. Also on the other hand, epidural analgesia is highly related to nausea and vomiting in 30% of women. So, in this context, vomiting, among other things, is very common and can be considered a normal response to this situation. This reaction of vomiting is how your body responds to the pain and stress of labor. Sometimes, it is only nausea, but it’s essential to remember that it is a manageable and temporary occurrence.
However, it is necessary to know that not all women experience vomiting during labor, and the likelihood of it happening can vary from person to person.
The Science Behind Vomiting During Labor
Understanding, scientifically, why you may vomit during labor can help you manage your anxiety.
Your body undergoes several significant changes during labor, including releasing various hormones and their physiological responses. When contractions become more frequent and intense, the body releases stress hormones, such as adrenaline. This hormone could alter your gastrointestinal system, including your stomach and intestines, and potentially lead to nausea and vomiting. In addition, the pressure exerted on the stomach and diaphragm by the expanding uterus can contribute to these sensations.
At What Stage of the Labor Can Vomiting Happen?
Labor is a process with many stages, and vomiting can occur during any of these stages. Let’s take a closer look at these stages and the likelihood of experiencing vomiting:
- Early Labor: Contractions are usually milder and less frequent, and you may have more control over your body’s responses. Vomiting is less common during the early stages of labor.
- Active Labor: At this stage stronger and more regular contractions are showing up, and vomiting can become a concern. Vomiting is more likely during this stage and the next one. Especially if you are more predisposed to nausea.
- Transition Phase: This phase happens before the final stage of labor and is often the most challenging part. It’s when the cervix is almost fully dilated, and contractions are at the peak of intensity and frequency. The pressure on your stomach and the release of stress hormones can trigger nausea and vomiting during this phase with a higher likelihood.
- Final Phase: At this point, your baby will born, and a few minutes later, the placenta released.
Is There a Way to Prevent Vomiting During Labor?
Well… There is no formula to prevent vomiting during labor. However, there are several effective strategies to reduce the likelihood and manage it effectively. While labor is a unique situation, some typical techniques used to reduce nausea and vomiting, for example, during pregnancy, could be applied.
- Stay Hydrated: Staying well-hydrated is crucial during labor. The best option is always water. Sipping small volumes of water is great! Or put pieces of ice chips into your mouth of water during the early stages of labor.
- Eat small meals and move slowly: Before standing up, move slowly and eat something small, such as dry toast or crackers. Change hot and smelly foods for cold and fresh food. Choose low-fat and high-carbohydrate intake, such as bread, rice, and pasta.
- Breathe slowly: Practicing deep, slow breathing can help reduce anxiety and nausea. Trying to incorporate mindfulness during pregnancy to be prepared for this moment. Focusing on your breath can distract you from discomfort and promote relaxation.
- Change positions frequently: Staying in the same position, although being in bed, could put extra pressure on the uterus and your stomach. Experiment with different positions to alleviate the pressure and discomfort. Changing positions provides you relief and can help reduce the urge to vomit.
- Aromatherapy: Some people find relief in calming scents, like lavender or peppermint essential oils. These soothing aromas can help create a calming atmosphere during labor. I give a tip: while pregnant, pick a scent you like and put it all over your house, near your bed, on your desk. Make a daily routine of relaxing with that scent so your brain will relate the aroma with calm sensations, and during stressful situations, like labor, it will help you relax.
- Acupressure: Acupressure wristbands or specific pressure points on the body can be effective in relieving nausea. These are worth considering if you prefer non-pharmacological approaches.
- Medication: This is the last option and must be under a doctor’s prescription. In more severe cases of nausea and vomiting, your doctor may recommend medications to ease your symptoms. These medications can be administered intravenously or orally, depending on your needs.
What Can I do to Help Avoid Vomiting During Labor?
If you suffer from nausea and vomiting during early pregnancy, you may feel extra anxious about the possibility of vomiting during labor. Sadly, there is no magic technique to avoid vomiting in any situation. But here are some additional tips to help you maintain the comfort and minimize the chances of vomiting:
- Practice mindfulness and relaxation: Mindfulness techniques can help you stay present in the moment and reduce anxiety. Deep, focused breathing and guided relaxation exercises can keep stress away.
- A support person: Having a supportive partner, family member, friend, or doula present during labor can provide emotional and physical support. They can help you stay calm and focused during the more challenging moments.
- Good communication with your doctor: Open and honest communication is essential. Share your concerns and preferences so the health team can tailor care to meet your needs.
- Listening to music: This tip works like aromatherapy by creating a calming environment with your favorite music or soothing sounds, releasing your mind from discomfort.
What are the Other Things that Could Happen?
Labor is a unique and unpredictable journey and, along with vomiting, other discomforts and challenges you may encounter. Besides contractions and pain, you may shake and talk nonsense. The reason is the massive amount of stress hormones your body is releasing.
While you may experience fatigue, you will ride an emotional rollercoaster. It is common to feel hunger, as well as popping and peeing… Do not feel embarrassed! These situations are completely normal during labor. You will be making a tremendous effort to give birth to your baby.
Vomiting during labor is a common situation. While preventing vomiting is challenging, the situation could be manageable. Practicing mindfulness and relaxing techniques during pregnancy could prepare your brain to control this stressful situation. By staying hydrated, using breathing techniques, and communicating with your doctor, you can reduce the likelihood and intensity of nausea and vomiting.
Remember that labor is a unique journey, and you are not alone! Your healthcare team is there to support you through this remarkable experience. Embrace the challenges and the joy that comes with bringing a new life.
Monica has a Ph.D. specializing in molecular and cell biology. with more than 10 years in reproductive medicine, she has now turned to medical and scientific communication through writing. She is passionate about scientific writing, and her goal is to turn the complex language of science into simple and relatable words.